Children are not “small adults”. Children have different diseases than adults, their x-rays sometimes look different than adults, and their “normal” lab values are different than adults.
Children need a physician who has been trained to recognize subtle abnormalities in growth and development.
Since young children do not communicate well, they need someone who is familiar with a wide range of pediatric diseases and their treatments. They also need a doctor who has experience picking up subtle findings on physical exam, because children cannot always verbalize what is bothering them.
This experience is gained through many years of seeing children day in and day out. Pediatricians have completed four years of medical school and three additional years of specialized training, all in pediatrics.
Most pediatricians are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics after passing a comprehensive test covering all areas of health related to newborns, infants, children, and adolescents. In addition, we annually complete many hours of continuing pediatric medical education, to ensure that we stay up to date in all areas of pediatrics.